Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for July 31, 2015

[Rapping to the Beat] -- Once upon a time, rap music sold thousands of records, but barely cracked the upper echelons of pop culture. That statement may seem odd to read in a year in which hip-hop's wealthiest artists have incomes that are measured in HUNDREDS of millions of dollars (e.g., Dr. Dre is #2 on Forbes list of Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists Of 2015 at a paltry net worth of $700M). But well before Yo! MTV Raps, In Living Color, and Empire, rap music made its mainstream network television debut on ... 20/20. Yes, in July of 1981 -- 34 years ago this month! -- ABC's 20/20 became the United States' first network TV news program to air a special report on rap music.

Would you buy rap records from these guys?

Sure, it seems kind of quaint now. And, yes, children of the Internet, "portable" music players in those days really were the size of briefcases. But this investigative report is actually quite fascinating and informative, particularly considering the history they delve into (Cab Calloway, radio DJs, and Blondie, for example). And the clips of the Sugarhill Gang, Funky 4 + 1, and Kurtis Blow -- and the the footage of street scenes -- are worthy additions to any time capsule. So, we have only two Flashbacks this week: Parts 1 and 2 of the Hip-Hop special report.

Flashback #1: 20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special - Part 1

Flashback #2: 20/20 Report Hip-Hop Special - Part 2

That's all for this week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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